Sometimes it is easy to take our civil justice system for granted. In modern America it is somewhat assumed that we will retain the right to use the system fully to protect our rights if they are violated by another and we are harmed. After all, our federal constitution and most state constitutions specifically enshrine the right to use the justice system to ensure fairness and accountability in our interactions with one another.
But, it is important that we do not become complacent. And that is particularly true when it comes to this issue: protecting the rights of community members to see full redress when wronged. That is because for quite some time there have been various attacks of this foundational principle. From pushing through legislation that makes it harder to file suit to passing constitutional amendments to alter the legal freedom of citizens, certain big interests have worked tirelessly to undermine the principles of full and free access to the justice system.
As we have frequently noted, these attacks certainly affect nursing home neglect cases. It does not take much examination to identify various areas where, piece by piece, big insurance intersts and nursing home companies are trying to immunize themselves from being held accountable by individual residents and their families. For example, the push for mandatory arbitration agreements is one such tactic to make it harder for those hurt by neglect or abuse to receive full accountability and redress. These sorts of efforts are almost always cloaked in hidden language that speaks about supposed “benefits” of changing the system to eliminate legal rights. But at the end of the day the motive is always the same: protect big companies from being held financially accountable for the harm they cause.
The attorneys at our firm are ardent advocates of open access to justice. For that reason we proudly support the new American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) “Take Justice Back” campaign. The new website for the project can be found here.
According to the information made available on the site, the campaign is intended to better coordinate and disseminate accurate information about the many ways that the legal system is under attack. Significantly funded and well-connected big businesses are working tirelessly to advance their own interests at the expense of the public, and its time we fight back. That includes educating the public on the many ways that their rights are being undermined, often using social media channels to spread the word. The campaign also intends to act as a central online meeting place where stories and strategies can be shared about the battle.
While those of us working on these issues full time understand what is at stake, the sad truth is that many community members simply do not know the consequences of these efforts to eliminate full accountability for big businesses. That is why it is important for things like this campaign to be supported. These “tort reform” laws pit the interests of the elite few against the interests of the vast majority of the public. It is vital that we spread the word so that all community members understand the cold hard facts.
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